The GT Kontiki idea grew out of frustration with the limitations of existing electric and kite longline fishing systems on the market. The founder of GT Kontiki, himself a keen Kontiki fisher, was becoming increasingly disillusioned with his top-of-the-line electric kontiki system.
"I owned an electric kontiki for years, using it mostly off the Ripiro Beach near Dargaville (on the northwest coast of New Zealand's North Island)," explains the founder.
"However, I became increasingly frustrated with it beaching itself whenever there was a strong rip, or else failing to get out through the breakers at all. Every time the surf was up, I'd struggle - and the surf is nearly always up on the west coast.
Even when I'd launch the kontiki successfully, the second set of breakers, which can be as much as 500m offshore, combined with slack in the line, often conspired to divert my kontiki off course.
Perhaps the most embarrassing thing is to have someone stop and tell you that your kontiki is beached a kilometre up the beach while you are looking blithely out to sea at the line disappearing into the waves. I also had to swim out into the surf and rescue my kontiki one day, which wasn't fun - or really that smart, with hindsight!
I got tired, too, of other kontiki users telling me 'not to bother, mate - there's too much rip,' or that the breakers are 'too high' or 'too numerous'. Then there was my wife giving me a hard time about coming home without any fish - again! Get the sausages out of the freezer!
I decided to do something about it"
Five years in development, the GT Kontiki is the most sophisticated and reliable beach launched electronic kontiki in the world. The development process was thorough and comprehensive, involving many prototypes. Numerous electric motors and electronic controls were tested and discarded before finally settling the components used today. The earliest GT Kontiki had a handmade fibreglass body; another early prototype was fabricated from hand-shaped aluminium… GT Kontiki spent many years refining the GTK's hull shape, autopilot and electronic control systems, along with the heavy-duty electric winch and optional trolley. They also put a lot of work into the fishing system itself: clips, hooks and stoppers on the mainline. Unique to the New Zealand market, the GTK's longline has no joins or crimps, so fewer tangles or breakages.
Finally, the company made a huge investment in rotational moulding technology: the production GT Kontiki's hull is made from rugged, colour-fast, UV-resistant plastic precisely moulded and shaped for hydrodynamic efficiency and stability in the water.
The revolutionary GT Kontiki is manufactured using only the highest quality materials and components: it features a high-powered electric motor, powerful gel-cell batteries, a shielded propeller and GTK's unique compass controlled electronic autopilot system - a world's first.
The GTK autopilot system allows controlled sets in heavy surf, high wind and strong tidal rips, which defeat other electric kontikis. It's 50-pound (24kg) thrust electric motor can cope with the rugged conditions of New Zealand's west coast beaches, towing up to two kilometres of 150kg longline straight off the beach into deep water where big fish live.
The GT Kontiki is simply the best recreational longline fishing system in the world.